About this Show

European Journal

The Abortion Debate Flares In Ireland Ireland Abortion - yes or no In Ireland the debate on abortion legislation has flared up again. The trigger was the death of a woman who was not allowed to terminate. Since then, thousands have taken to the streets

NETWORK

DURATION
00:30:00

RATING

SCANNED IN
San Francisco, CA, USA

SOURCE
Off-Air Channel 43

TUNER
Channel 43 (647 MHz)

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Ireland 7, Bulgaria 6, Us 5, Austria 4, Denmark 4, Russia 4, Euros 3, Greenland 3, Adolf Hitler 2, Norway 2, Brussels 2, Odin 2, Canada 2, Braunau 1, The State 1, Expedition 1, Eu 1, Hitler 1, United Nations 1, Germany 1,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  KCSMMHZ    European Journal    The Abortion Debate Flares In Ireland Ireland Abortion -  
   yes or no In Ireland the debate on abortion legislation has...  

    December 22, 2012
    8:30 - 9:00am PST  

8:30am
>> hello and a very warm welcome to "european journal" coming to you from dw studios in brussels. coming up in today show -- the dictator's house. austria struggling with its past. and bulgaria -- the plight of the blind. there is a fierce and emotional debate going on in ireland over the country's strict anti- abortion laws sparked by the death of a woman in october after doctors denied her request to abort her dying fetus. the husband is convinced she
8:31am
would still be alive had the doctors terminated her pregnancy in time. the case has turned the spotlight on an issue which is seldom discussed publicly in the catholic country. irish women have taken to the streets demanding the laws be changed. >> not the church, not the state, women will decide their fate. >> never before have the irish people campaigned so hard for the right to abortion. they are calling for the church and state to stay out of issues related to their bodies. this woman's face can be seen all over posters here. campaigners say what happened to her must never happen again. they are fighting against ireland's strict anti-abortion laws, which they say scared doctors out of giving her an abortion. >> i feel it is a very important issue for women and we're treated as second-class citizens in our country. i feel it is my body and my business and not the business of anybody inside that building to
8:32am
tell me what i can and cannot do. >> it is very important for us to separate church and medical decisions. there is still far too much of a religious influence on things. >> irish women seeking abortion are forced to go abroad. thousands travel to britain for that reason each year. this woman has helped start a publi discussion. she was pregnant with her third child, and eagerly awaited girl. in the third month of pregnancy, an ultra scan revealed that the baby had a genetic disease and would not be able to survive outside the womb. she had to travel to liverpool for a termination. >> going through the worst time of your life and then basically, it is adding salt to the wound to be kind of scared off like a criminal.
8:33am
it adds to the grief. it adds to everything. >> she and others who have gone through similar experiences founded a self-help group six months ago. since then, they have been giving newspaper interviews and appearing on talk shows. her goal is to break the taboo surrounding genetic disease and abortion. >> at the time when this happened to me i was googling the diseases. does this happen to people often? i never knew anybody who this happened to. suddenly, people are coming out of the woodwork. it is happening all the time. >> he has been campaigning for a change in irish abortion laws for years. even rape victims, women with psychiatric problems, and those suffering from cancer are denied an abortion in ireland. >> way back in 1983, there was a
8:34am
decision to put an article in to our constitution which equated the life of the unborn with the life of the woman. most commentators now understand that that was a big mistake. it has caused ireland's international reputation to be damaged. it has led to a whole series of tragic cases. >> the european court of justice ruled that ireland's anti- abortion rules deny women their human rights and must be amended, but the catholic church still holds enormous sway. st. mary's cathedral in the center of dublin puts on five services every day. >> it is a catholic country, you see. that is the situation. >> completely against. only exceptional when the mother's life is at risk. no other time. >> a woman's life is in danger,
8:35am
you have women coming around just wanting abortions on demand. can babies? >> even among the faithful, there are those who reject the church position. >> i think women if they want to have an abortion, they should be allowed to have an abortion. >> i do not think the church should have a say in it. i really do not. it is the individual themselves to has to live with it. >> she has been motivated by the support she has received since she went public with her story. she says it is time for an open discussion. >> we are a country that never would discuss it ever. it was the biggest secret in ireland. 12 women per day have abortions, so abortion happens in ireland every day, but just not
8:36am
physically in the country. they happen in the u.k., but they happen to irish people. >> women's rights activists plan to protest outside parliament every week until the taboos surrounding abortion is broken and the law is finally changed. >> we now head to the icy north where there is a territorial scramble for the arctic because huge deposits of oil and gas are believed to be located there. canada, denmark, norway, russia are among the countries competing for the resources. we accompanied a danish icebreaker on its journey to the north pole. the expedition includes scientists who are hoping to find evidence to support their claim to the region. >> in august, some sunshine and clouds revealed the full might of mother nature in a special way. the conditions nature creates
8:37am
are likely to be the biggest challenge for 45 researchers on board the icebreaker. the danish government has commissioned the geologists' to find out if a seabed in as part of the arctic is part of greenland's landmass and therefore belongs to the kingdom of denmark. christian leads the expedition. in his homeland, he is one of the most experienced specialists in his field. >> we want to get to the north pole because if our hypothesis is correct, then that area belongs to us because one of the largest submarine mountain ranges belongs to us. we are looking for evidence to claim a larger area. all the way over to russia. >> the rich extends northward across the sea floor from greenland and the north pole to the new siberian islands, which are about 1,800 kilometers away. that is why the voyage is
8:38am
politically controversial -- russia, norway, and canada also claim part of the region. the countries are all striving to ensure valuable natural resources are on their territory. the length of the voyage is limited to 45 days. otherwise, when winter sets in, it will become trapped in the polar ice until spring. the danish research team wants to create a precise map of the seashore -- seafloor in this area. they are using a measurement device for submarine surveying. the instrument is lowered into the water and dragged behind the boat on a long cable. as the olden -- odin proceeds,
8:39am
the ice thickens. they drag it for hours only to receive bad news. >> it is no use because it is not sinking below our ice floes. >> they did not expect the expedition to be like this. they're frustrated, but there is worse news -- the streamer is broken. the cables have been severed by ice sheets with razor sharp edges. >> first, we are going to assess the damage. the cables usually run along here on the side, but they have been cut, as if someone did it with a knife. >> they are going to have to find another way to gather evidence that the sea floor below actually belongs to denmark. mother nature has managed to stymie technology.
8:40am
as the ship makes its way northward, the ice thickens to a depth of about four meters. the odin is now barely making headway. speed is about three knots or just over 5.5 kilometers an hour -- about the same as a person walking. the icebreaker turns on word but then fog descends, shrouding the expedition and the ice for days on end. >> we cannot use the helicopter to determine the best course. visibility is minimal. sometimes the boat works itself free and the fog lifts. then you can see a channel about 100 meters away. >> but somehow, they keep making headway.
8:41am
if you have gone this far, turning back is harder. when the ice fins, they try surveying again and lower the dredge to a depth of 3,000 meters to gather samples -- when the ice thins. the geologists hope the stone will be similar in composition to that of greenland. could this be evidence that proves the ridge is danish? >> this is a sign that these rocks are about to split. an expert back home will have to analyze it. >> they have reached the north pole. >> welcome to the north pole. it is odin's seventh time on the north pole, which is a lot. i would like to thank everyone who made it possible. thank you. >> cheers. >> it is time for -- time to party on the pack ice. the national flags of all
8:42am
expedition members are unfurled along with the traditional sign posts for their home towns. some try to do a handstand on the northernmost point on the planet. others enjoy the thrills and chills of doing something like an eskimo roll -- well, sort of. but even if the team is international, this day as the north pole is an important symbol for denmark. the message "we are here" is unmistakable. the danes are making it clear they have a claim on this valuable bit of real estate. on the return trip, the boat is struggling through the thickening ice. the warmer than average arctic summer is quickly drawing to a close and polar bears are finding it easier to roam the ice. >> we have got to analyze the data gathered. then we will compose a motion to the united nations saying the north pole is danish territory.
8:43am
there's plenty of work ahead of us. >> the course is set for southeast. after days at sea, the mountains appear on the horizon. no matter to whom this bit of nature belongs -- it is still an inhospitable place. >> bulgaria has been a member of the eu for five years now and has often been the target of criticism from brussels. bulgaria has to fight corruption's in european partners. they also want the country to do more for the most disadvantaged members of society. there is a neighborhood with a large proportion of blind and visually impaired people. they feel the state has simply forgotten in. >> as soon as the sun rises, it is time to start work, but the blind accordion player cannot usually scrapes together more than a few cents.
8:44am
he once had a decent factory job, but work has become a rare commodity in bulgaria. people with disabilities can expect rare support. occasionally the association of the blind steps in. >> the end of communism and the start of a new age for blind people. in the past, there was a different mentality. the state made it easy for people with disabilities. they provided everything. now our living conditions have changed dramatically. market forces have put paid to the blind association factories where every blind person used to get work. >> this is one of the few people who stands up for the interests of the blind. he is also visually impaired, but he can get by without external assistance. the association head is constantly out and about visiting people who do need his
8:45am
help. his first appointment today is with a 79-year-old who urgently needs windows and a new door. her pension does not even cover the heating costs. she gets the equivalent of 150 euros a month -- just about enough in the warmer months but not in the winter. >> it was so cold last winter that my fridge froze. i only have a small stove, but it is too expensive for me to light. i have to spend a lot of money on vacation, so i do not put on the stove. i spend the equivalent of 50 euros on medication. >> these apartments were built in the 1970's.
8:46am
there was running water and central heating -- luxury for many of the 500 visually impaired people who moved in back then. >> the housing blocks were in good condition in those days. the factories that belong to the blind association still worked according to a command economy principles. the income of the factories was used to pay for the maintenance of the apartments, but demand has collapsed, and we do not have any money anymore. blind people now have to pay for renovation and maintenance themselves. >> in 2007, the country joined the european union, but the average monthly wage still only amounts to around 370 euros. like most blind people here, she cannot find a job and has to survive from disability benefits of 137 euros. she has been -- he has been
8:47am
trying to help find work for years but with no success so far. she used to work in this filtration plant right next to her home. less than a dozen people are still employed there. >> it is almost impossible to find work. employers generally refuse to hire people with disabilities, even though disabled people have to make up 3% of the staff according to the law. they would rather take on able- bodied people than those with special requirements. >> he tries to rally the spirits of the young mom. at least her rent only rally to around 10 euros a month thanks to the subsidies, but the situation is depressing, nonetheless. the chances of many of the young
8:48am
and well-educated have improved since the collapse of communism. yet, there remain a minority. for the less advantaged, the danger of falling through the social security net has become a very real one. in the past, the state used to step in. nowadays, there is just not the money. > the association of the blind has a budget of 500,000 euros a year for the whole of bulgaria. that is made up of the association's rental income and state funding. we're expected to look after 16,800 non-sighted people across the country with that -- it is impossible. and >> it is time for a break. he goes to meet his wife in her small shop around a corner.
8:49am
she manages to run the shop, even though she is blind. with her humor and her energy, she encourages him to carry on in these difficult times. >> most blind people still think the state and the blind association should look after them. that is no longer possible. they have to change their mentality. they have to start looking for work even though it is very difficult. we will help them, of course, but they will not get anywhere and will continue to be marginalized unless they take the initiative. >> the first losers in bulgaria's fledgling democracy -- the old, the week, and most of all, the disabled. >> cities are proud of their famous sons or daughters, and they like to name schools, streets, and public buildings after them, but what you do if
8:50am
the most famous child of your town is considered one of the worst criminals who ever lived? adolf hitler was born in austria. his house of birth is still standing. unlike many other not see buildings that were torn down by allied forces after the second world war. although hitler did not live there for long, there is a big controversy about what to do with the house. >> the river forms the border between germany and austria here. the quaint town with its 16,000 inhabitants is located on the austrian side of the border, but it is a place with a historical burden that the town's patron saint can do little to avert. it is adolf hitler's birthplace, and it has inherited a real estate problem.
8:51am
. the address of hitler's birthplace is an expensive property in the center of town. it has been in the since last year -- it has been empty since last year. braunau's mayor suggested turning the house into rental apartments. the idea was turned down, but a solution still has not been found. the house's owner possibly shares and certain responsibility for that. she originally rented out the property to local government, but now, she appears hard to reach. >> at the moment, i cannot speak to the owner personally. >> my attempt to get in touch with the proprietor also failed. i would like to have asked for a few questions. such as why the cast-iron letters still adorn the house.
8:52am
they are the initials of hitler 's private secretary, who bought the party for the nazi party in 1978 and had it decorated accordingly -- in 1938 and had a decorated accordingly. even today, there is no plaque outside the house relating the history of nazi crimes. the fate of the house has triggered a public controversy in braunau. historians and local residents taking part in the meeting think politicians should have dealt with the issue a lot sooner. >> unfortunately, we have not been able to do anything to the building, either inside or out. that is the main problem we have been facing. >> but the owner of the house was unable to block this memorial, which was erected on the pavement in 1989. the granite stone comes from a
8:53am
concentration camp 80 kilometers away from the town. it is the least one reminder of the past. this man has long been interested in the history of his town. he thinks it is significant that hitler paid so little attention to his own birth place. hitler lived the first three years of his life in baunau but only return once after germany's annexation of austria -- in braunau. that is where he took part in a victory parade there. >> if you consider how the nazi party and apparently how hitler himself dealt with the house where he was born, you get the impression he was not particularly interested by it. he was possibly embarrassed by it to some extent. he probably did not want to advertise his background.
8:54am
>> in bavaria, about 100 kilometers away, was much better suited to hitler's megalomania. up here, he could rain over neighboring austria. it was here that genocide and later atrocities were planned. >> braunau is an innocent place in comparison if it were not for this house. a russian parliamentarian announced he wanted to buy it and have it demolished, but the building is protected by a historic preservation order, and local authorities wanted to stop anyone from is using the building, said they have been paying the owner almost 5000 euros in rent per month, but you cannot just delete history, even if some people in russia might think so. so what should happen to the building in which hitler was
8:55am
born? it has been used as a public library and more recently as a workshop for people with disabilities. >> we have to create an institution which is dedicated to help researching the past, not necessarily a conventional museum. it is a kind of memorial site, a place where we can take responsibility for the past. >> people in braunau are slowly beginning to realize that things cannot stay as they are and that it is high time to find a solution for this building with its unsettling past. >> that report wraps up this edition of "european journal." thanks for tuning in. join us next week if you can. until then, bye for now. captioned by the national captioning institute --www.ncicap.org--
8:56am
8:57am
8:58am
8:59am